Ford would welcome Nissan-Renault alliance

Ford Motor Co. stock surged Wednesday after news reports said Chairman Bill Ford last month called Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Japan's Nissan Motor Co. and France's Renault SA, to discuss a partnership if General Motors Corp. does not join with Ghosn in a global automotive alliance.

Ford spokespeople declined to comment on the reports.

Some observers interpreted the news as a sign that Ford's embattled top leader — chairman since 1998, CEO since 2001 and de facto president since July — may be willing to step down, or at least to the side, to allow another executive to take the helm. And it adds to an emotional period for workers at the struggling 103-year-old automaker, who already face the prospect of a deeper, faster restructuring this fall.

Brian Pannebecker, an hourly worker at Ford's Sterling Heights axle plant, was excited about the possibility of Ghosn leading Ford and said he was buying as many Ford shares as he could get his hands on because of the reports.

"Bill Ford has emotional ties to the company and to the employees," Pannebecker said. "We probably need an outsider, like Ghosn, who can put emotional ties to the side and shut down excess capacity." More at Detroit Free Press

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